June 18, 2009
André Herman Düne
Radbab Records | 2004
In my perfect world, André Herman Düne, former co-leader (with brother David) of the French Van Halen, Herman Düne, would be the better-known name on the cover of this record. As it stands, this seemingly bizarre pair of bedfellows (French bohemian vs. English AOR superstar) pays considerable lip service to the latter but sounds much more like the typical work of the former.
Dido, who was plucked from obscurity in 2001 when her first and biggest hit, “Thank You” was sampled by Eminem for “Stan,” his first (only?) bid for mass consideration as a “serious artiste,” makes syrupy love-rock when left to her own devices. Her brand of neutral, over-produced balladry probably plays best in a minivan’s tape deck, screaming kids in the back seat. This second homage to the gorgeous simplicity of her songwriting is a neat trick: Eminem put Dido in every household in America, but André Herman Düne puts her in the ears of bored hipsters, who should take to these simple recordings like Pavlov’s dog to the dinner bell. The songs, entirely solo-acoustic, could be leftovers from André Herman Düne Stands United, or, in fact, any of the prolific songster’s solo recordings (that’s how similar the two ultimately sound), when stripped down to the bare essentials.
Consisting of songs from Dido’s first two albums, No Angel and Life for Rent, and including renditions of both of the songwriter’s hits, “Thank You” and “White Flag,” Sings Dido, to the unaware, really could pass as another André Herman Düne solo joint. This is the neatest trick Herman Düne has played on us: in making these songs his own, and reading them so lovingly for his audience’s benefit, Herman Düne has revealed his pop-loving inner nerd, and fooled even the most thoroughly discerning into genuinely enjoying Top 40. I consider Sings Dido a great success, and recommend it as required listening for fans of either artist.
by Brook Pridemore